One Team, One Stat: Much Russ


VIDEO: Schuhmann’s Advanced Stats: Oklahoma City Thunder

NBA.com’s John Schuhmann gets you ready for the 2015-16 season with a key stat for each team in the league and shows you why it matters. Today, we look at the Oklahoma City Thunder, who leaned heavily on their one healthy star.

The stat

20151019_okc_usage

The context

20151019_okc_basicsUsage rate measures the percentage of a team’s possessions a player uses when he’s on the court. And with Kevin Durant playing just 27 games, Russell Westbrook recorded the highest usage rate of the last nine seasons.

Via his points and assists, Westbrook accounted for 60.1 percent of the Thunder’s points when he was on the floor. That mark was much higher than that of Stephen Curry (52.3 percent), James Harden (54.4 percent) or LeBron James (53.5 percent).

When Durant did play, Westbrook’s usage rate went down, as you’d expect. But his efficiency went down too. Westbrook actually shot better and scored more efficiently when Durant wasn’t on the floor and when his usage rate was higher.

20151019_okc_rw_shooting

And the Thunder offense was more efficient with only Westbrook in the game than when he shared the floor with Durant.

20151019_okc_kd_rw_eff

Of course, the Thunder are better off with both of their stars healthy. And it must be noted that Durant is a key part of Oklahoma City’s defense, which ranked in the top 10 for three straight years before falling off last season.

But it will be interesting to see if new coach Billy Donovan staggers Durant’s and Westbrook’s minutes more than Scott Brooks did over the years. Over the last three seasons in which both players were healthy (2010-11 through ’12-13), Westbrook played a total of just 559 minutes (2.4 per game) without Durant.

He played almost three times as many minutes without Durant last season. And if he plays more minutes with the second unit this year, he has plenty of experience being the focus of the offense.

Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions

18 Comments

  1. David says:

    This is rubbish, look at his usage rate, hence the blown up numbers, of all that triple double spree of last season, okc only won 1,2 of those games, correct me if I’m wrong, I’m just going off the top of my head but that’s rubbish, with kd on his own, he CARRIED them to the play offs and won an MVP along the way, difference between kd and Westbrook? Is kd is a former MVP.. That’s no joke, u want stats, he posted an historic season to deny lbj a 5th mvp.. Please I don’t even like okc but I know who the main guy is at okc

    • jake s. says:

      KD can shoot over anyone. Period. Rus has to penetrate to make his shots. The difference is that KD can be more efficient, but Russ has to try a LOT harder to put the ball in the basket. Russ is a beast, that is what he is. Deal with it.

  2. Red says:

    When westbrook was out and KD the running the show, they got into the playoffs easily. Now when KD is out and even with Westbrook’s triple double spree, he can’t even get near playoffs. Hope that obvious enough who’s better.

  3. Ravens says:

    The fools in Oklahoma won’t have to deal with it much longer.

  4. harriethehawk says:

    Talk all you want. Stats all day long. But when Kevin Durant is hot, NOBODY has an answer for him. NOBODY.

  5. Jason says:

    Whos BETTER kd or lebron

  6. Jason says:

    OKC are no better without kd but i have to admit russell westbrook plays better without KD

  7. Jason says:

    I love OKC and their not better without kd

  8. yyyann says:

    KD and westbrook compliment each other. When one of them down of course another guy need to step up. and one of them or both of them will do everything to win the game. #THUNDERUP

  9. soullessEOL says:

    I’m not a KD’s fan, but any team, from any era is better with KD, period.

  10. billy bob says:

    stats are stats, but when KD is on the floor, they win games.

  11. Michael says:

    WESTBROOK is a phenom, but is not at PG. OKC Should have let Reggie Jackson run the point and he probably would have stayed instead of leaving to run the show in Detroit. These issues seem to arise on teams that have a shoot first PG.

  12. Uncle Daddy says:

    This is just about stupid. To say this team is better without Durant is laughable. Stats or no stats, you can’t replace a guy of his talent with some role players, yes it takes a team I have always preached that (even when the NBA rigs the finals so Lebron can when a championship). There is no way they don’t make each other better, if they are both on the floor a team has two guys that require constant coverage if not double coverage. This opens up the floor inside and outside because they both are a threat from all spaces on the floor, which now means less talented players have a much easier time scoring and moving the ball. (Watch old Celtics/Lakers games the great players made average players look like really good players and in return the average players that looked really good made the great players that much greater.) Talent becomes cyclical, when you have great talent to start the process. Look at MJ, until Scottie came to help with the flow in the circle, there was much doubt.

  13. GreenGiant says:

    Is OKC better without Durant?

    Clearly no.

  14. hmm? says:

    and okc didnt make the playoff last year

    • Yo Yo says:

      Westbrook should separate from Durant. He can be a franchise player for a team in a big market and potentially makes 100millions more each year through endorsement. That’s easy math. Unless you are Lebron, MJ, or Kobe, your prime time is usually 5-6 years and you want to make the best of that. Take advantage of it and get as many endorsements as you can. That’s a whole lot more money you can add toward your retirement cushion!

    • supersonics says:

      well said pal! okc is just blah blah blah and then they go fishing in post season! LOL